(239) 344-8959

Get a Quote

Why You Should Use A Professional Pet Shipper When Moving To The UK

Published on: October 19, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

woman walking dog in cambridge

Are you moving with your pet to the United Kingdom? The pet import requirements are very strict, so it's definitely recommended to use a professional pet shipper.

It's also important to note that your pet must enter the UK via an approved route. If they are flying, they must travel on a commercial airline as cargo or a private charter. The most common approved arrival airports are London Heathrow (LHR), London Gatwick (LGW), Manchester (MAN), and Edinburgh (EDI). There are also restrictions on which airlines your pet can travel on. Furthermore, only an approved broker can clear your pet through customs - you are not allowed to do this yourself.

It simply makes more sense to hire a professional

The Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow is probably the busiest in Europe. Pet clearance can take 4-8 hours (or more). There is only a very small waiting area, no toilet, and nowhere to walk to. None of the other UK Animal Reception Centres even have a waiting area.

Do you really want to go hire a car and then wait for hours with your family until your pet clears customs? You can’t do anything special, because you won’t know if your pet will be ready sooner or later. If there are any issues with your pet's microchip or paperwork, they can be held overnight whilst the issue is checked and resolved. (Or even worse, they can be quarantined for up to four months or sent back to their origin!).

Then there’s the matter of collecting your pet to go to your new home. Is your vehicle large enough to take your pet and travel kennel? A big dog kennel is, well, big. If you have more than one pet, your problems multiply. It is so much easier to have your professional pet transport company handle this final step for you.

Starwood takes the hassle out of your pet’s arrival and clearance process

We will check your pet’s travel documents prior to arrival so we can highlight any issues early and try to speed up actual clearance. With Starwood providing customs clearance, we can also keep you updated on the progress and welfare of your pet. You may not be there with them, but we are.

Once your pet has cleared customs, our local team will collect them and deliver them safely to your new home. Or we can arrange boarding until you are ready to receive them. You will receive an update once your pet has arrived, and cleared customs, and will receive an estimated delivery time when available. Even if the airline requires a different broker or handles pet clearances internally, Starwood can offer delivery anywhere in the UK.

Clearance and delivery services make more sense almost everywhere

In a few international arrival cities, your small dog or cat can travel with you on the plane. When you arrive, you sling their carrier over your shoulder and zip through the customs line, showing their paperwork along with yours.

But if your pet is traveling as cargo, it is not that simple. When clients contact us, we always talk to them about the arrival process, wherever they are going. Clearance can be complicated, with documents in one location and pets in another. If you don’t speak the language, you can easily feel overwhelmed. What if there are questions or problems? Even if everyone speaks English, the process can be tremendously time-consuming, as in the UK. For some destinations, you don’t have to use a professional pet transport broker, but the peace of mind is worth all the dog cookies or catnip you can imagine.

Professional clearance and delivery services can be golden – a smooth, efficient final step in your pet’s international move. As anxious as you are to be reunited with your precious furry friend, you know you’re doing the right thing for them. And isn’t that most important?

New Call-to-action


*Image by Chris Boland via chrisboland.com

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.